02 March 2011

Why I’m Not Young, Restless, & Reformed: By One Guy Who Should Be

(With apologies to Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck for ripping off their title.)

[Update: See this clarifying follow-up.]

This can’t go the way of thesis/antithesis. I’m young (36, to be exact); I’m quite restless, often moving about; and I asked Calvin into my heart a long time ago. But here’s why I’m not really a part of the Young-Restless-and-Reformed-story (jungeruhelosundreformiert-geschichte), in no particular order:

  1. My pathway into the Reformed world was through infant baptism while studying the contours of covenantal theology in the scriptures and Calvin (note the -al at the end).
  2. John Piper has exacted virtually no influence on my theological formation, save to make me a more resolute paedobaptist.
  3. I’ve been a hipster since 1987 and have had a soul patch since 1992.
  4. I like hard rock more than indie music.
  5. I think the “five points of Calvinism,” or the “doctrines of grace,” comprise but one small facet of what it means to be Reformed.
  6. I’m basically a hypothetical universalist (no, not with respect to life after death [though I am a hopeful one] but regarding the extent of Christ’s atonement). This is not equivalent to being a “four-pointer,” for I do indeed affirm that Christ’s atonement is limited—efficaciously—to the elect alone. No, I will not define elect presently.
  7. I’m a single predestinarian, according to the Council of Orange.
  8. I’m not a huge fan of certain puritans, Turretin, and Edwards, though hands-down I’ll admit their brilliance and piety.
  9. I’m Anglican. I like the smells and the bells.

I'm therefore not so much Young-Restless-and-Reformed as Reformed Catholic.


Kevin Davis said...

Nice to see where you're coming from. Your hypothetical universalism and single predestinarianism seem to go hand-in-hand. The problem with double predestination, as it is often understood, is that it indicates a symmetry between election and reprobation (God "causes" the reprobation of the reprobate). The Canons of Dort actually disclaim this symmetry, but it seems to be an all too common assumption among Calvinists who emphasize "double" predestination.

Yes, indie music is lame. You should, however, expand your horizons to the wonderful world of authentic country (Cash, Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings, Emmylou Harris, and their contemporary heirs...Ryan Bingham).

Chris Donato said...

Oh, yes, I can dig into some Outlaw Country from time to time.

It was actually from my former boss (when he was my soon-to-be boss), R.C. Sproul, some 13 years ago, where I first heard of the asymmetry of double predestination. I rested in that for a time, but after a while considered it to be little more than a distinction without a difference.

I do agree that hypo. univ. and single pred. go hand in hand. Let it be said too that I appreciate Amyraut's predecessor on this subject (Cameron) a little more than Amyraut himself, what with the latter's scholastic parsings coming to the fore in his major works.

Single predestination, is, to my mind, the position of the historic church (at least in the West). It doesn't try to fix the antinomy.

Thanks for stopping by, Kevin.

Anonymous said...

I find your take on the five points of Calvinism really interesting as this is more or less my view now as well. I was beginning to think perhaps I was more of a Lutheran than a Calvinist. Just a quick question, in your opinion can a person be a single predestinarian (is that a real word) and still consider themselves as a confessional Presbyterian?

Chris Donato said...

Anon, thanks for stopping by and taking the time to write. In this instance, I understand why you've remained "anonymous"!

I'll be the first to admit Lutheran influence on my thinking (it was through the Lutheran church that I was reeled in to any semblance of orthodoxy after college). But I found that these views of mine are not merely my views at all, but find a deeply rooted home within the Reformed tradition.

In my opinion, I do think a person can be a single predestinarian (yes, it's a real word) and still consider themselves a confessional Presbyterian. Even more important than considering themselves confessional, however, is the fact that the tradition does too. That's the real crux.

Do not accept opinions to the contrary on this point (most neo-Calvinists here in America will not agree, while, ironically, many paleo-Presbyterians will), but do study it for yourself. I think you'll find history is not on the side of the neo-Calvinists.

If you check out the follow-up post to this one, Ramblings & Remorse, you'll see a quote from Ken Stewart (professor at Covenant College) on this very point (#7).

Thanks again for reading.

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